Students’ perception of virtual classrooms: looking for the missing factors


Students’ perception of virtual classrooms: looking for the missing factors

Ambra Altimari - Angela Caridà

Objectives. This work aims to understand the factors that influence students’ perceptions of online teaching and learning during the global pandemic.

Methodology. We submitted the Constructivist On-Line Learning Environment Survey (COLLES) to management students. Then, we conducted an exploratory factor analysis using the XLStat software to identify the nature of the latent factors underlying students’ perception of online classroom environment.

Findings. Three main factors explain most of the variability; according to previous studies, we labelled them as (i) Corse design and development, (ii) Instructor’s characteristics and role, and (iii) Learners’ characteristics. Moreover, we found that some differences occur between latent factors patterns between undergraduate and postgraduate classes. 

Research limits. Although results are statistically significant, they cannot be generalized, due to the relatively small convenience sample utilized. Future research should include larger and more variegated sample.

Practical implications. This study provides a useful insight to improve support for online students who are forced to take distance learning and to provide guidelines for effective online teaching.

Originality of the study. Although the existing literature acknowledges that learner characteristics, course design, and instructor role may influence students’ perception of the online teaching/learning experience (e.g., the six constructs listed above), there are no studies linking them to one or more of these specific factors. Furthermore, there is limited research on the similarities and differences in perceptions of the online teaching/learning experience between undergraduate and graduate students.

#COLLES #exploratory factor analysis #Online learning #Online teaching #Students’ perspective